When there is a clear hazard in front of you, such as a driver who has crossed the centerline, you don’t have time to think about how you’re going to effectively hit the brakes on your motorcycle. You only have time to react. You already need to know how to react so that your body does it instinctively.

However, braking on a motorcycle is far different than braking on a modern car, where you just slam the pedal down as hard as you can. With a motorcycle, it takes finesse. Here are a few tips that may help you:

  • Know if you have anti-lock brakes or not. If you do, they pulse, just as they would with a car. If you do not, there are situations where you need to manually pulse them to avoid skidding.
  • Know if you have linked brakes. These will give you a single braking lever and then apply both front and rear as needed. This may feel easier to a new rider. If you don’t have that, though, you need to know when to use which brakes.
  • If you do not have linked brakes, you want to put a bit more braking power in the front. A good ratio is 70% in the front and 30% in the back.
  • Keep the type of bike in mind. If you ride a dirt bike, for instance, you likely won’t use the front brakes often at all. A cruiser road bike, however, may be able to handle more of a 50/50 split. A sport bike likely needs more front braking. However, you often don’t want to use 100% front braking, which can lead to a crash.

Knowing how to brake helps, but nothing guarantees that another driver won’t hit you. If you get injured, you must know what legal options you have.